first published on October 4, 2017 by Funker
Update: After this article went public, Cabela’s received significant pressure to reverse this decision. A customer support agent at the Saskatoon location explained that the discount was placed back in effect, but only because they are price matching Wholesale Sports 10% veteran discount. When Wholesale Sports closes it’s doors later this year, it is unknown if Cabela’s will cancel it’s discount once again.
Update 2 November 1: After the public outcry died down, Cabela’s cancelled the discount once again and said they had no intention of bringing it back, showing once again that if nobody speaks up, they have no real interest in showing their daily support for first responders and veterans.
Across Canada, Cabela’s was known to honor our veterans and first responders on a daily basis, with a 10% discount on regular priced items. To myself and many others in the veteran community, this made me believe that Cabela’s was a little different than the rest of the big box stores, and still valued their core customer base. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that this was never the case.
This week a member of the community was purchasing some fishing gear from Cabela’s in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and when they presented their veteran ID card to the cashier her response was quite blunt. “Now that Wholesale Sports is leaving, Cabela’s decided to cancel the veteran discount program because there is no more competition in the city,” she said.
I thought that this employee was likely misinformed as to the reason of the discount cancellation, so I emailed Cabela’s corporate HQ. To my surprise, their reasoning was actually more disappointing than what the cashier had said.
The email from their Customer Support Representative explained that Wholesale Sports were actually the ones who originally offered the veteran/first responder discount, and Cabela’s was forced to price match.
By doing this, they managed to win over the Wholesale Sports customer base and ran them out of business within a few years. When they no longer had a need to price match, the first thing to go was the daily veteran/first responder discount.
Our community figured that once Cabela’s only big competition in the city was out of business we would see a decrease in competitive pricing, but this took many by surprise. News began to spread to local hunting and fishing Facebook groups, and comments like this began to flood in:
“What a joke. Now that they have the monopoly they figure they can do as they please. I tried to shop local before. Now I’ll really be trying to”
“Well let’s face it, they’ve eliminated their biggest competitor so why bother anymore! I think I’ll be checking the deals at Northpro Sports more often, it’s as local as it gets!”
I feel like I should add that I’m not upset about them cancelling their veteran discount program specifically. We aren’t owed anything and shouldn’t expect special treatment. I’m more concerned with how quickly they would slash a program like this right after winning a virtual monopoly in a city, and how the response of the public will shape their behavior moving forward nation wide. Hopefully Saskatoon sends a message with its dollars, and starts supporting more local shops like North Pro and The Fishin’ Hole.
If you’d like to contact Cabela’s and request that they reverse this decision, you can post on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cabelascanada, email their corporate HQ at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-265-6245 ext. 3041
Cabela’s has yet to confirm when or if this cancellation will take effect nation wide.